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    Emotion is perceived accurately from isolated body parts, especially hands

    BLYTHE, Ellen and Garrido, L. and Longo, Matthew (2023) Emotion is perceived accurately from isolated body parts, especially hands. Cognition 230 (105260), ISSN 0010-0277.

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    Body posture and configuration provide important visual cues about the emotion states of other people. We know that bodily form is processed holistically, however, emotion recognition may depend on different mechanisms; certain body parts, such as the hands, may be especially important for perceiving emotion. This study therefore compared participants’ emotion recognition performance when shown images of full bodies, or of isolated hands, arms, heads and torsos. Across three experiments, emotion recognition accuracy was above chance for all body parts. While emotions were recognized most accurately from full bodies, recognition performance from the hands was more accurate than for other body parts. Representational similarity analysis further showed that the pattern of errors for the hands was related to that for full bodies. Performance was reduced when stimuli were inverted, showing a clear body inversion effect. The high performance for hands was not due only to the fact that there are two hands, as performance remained well above chance even when just one hand was shown. These results demonstrate that emotions can be decoded from body parts. Furthermore, certain features, such as the hands, are more important to emotion perception than others.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Matthew Longo
    Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2022 12:18
    Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 00:10


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